Life is a Fountain


This is kind of the casual journal of Life is a Fountain. It features loose thoughts, process, pictures of fountains, and Life is a Fountain News.




Just so you know, this page is updated in a “newest first” kind of system. This means the more you read the less relevant everything will become. Well, not so much less relevant, rather it will be increasingly out of date. Or maybe not so much out of date as so old as to be no longer written in a contemporary vernacular.









I wondered how long it had been since I had done… anything to Life is a Fountain. Just a few weeks, it turns out, though it felt longer. All the strange and forgotten projects I find littered on the Internet, the ones that haunt me with what this will invariably come, are hardly what I’d consider “abandoned” at three weeks. Those are usually more like three years old. So I guess I’m still safe.


Though everything is ghosts here. And I didn’t do anything on Life is a Fountain because it was all I could do for awhile just keeping up with the daily newsletter for Life is a Fountain.

It turns out I don’t know what I’m saying here, or even want to say or explain, and I don’t think I’ll get there this time around. Maybe this is just warming up to it. Maybe I can just try setting down some more straight up Life is a Fountain News:

I am thinking a lot about redesigning the front page into something way simpler, almost brief.

I don’t know what to do with no one ever visiting unless I send them directly making me not want to send them directly.

I want to break things, but I want all the pieces to be beautiful.












I was thinking about writing in clerkmanifesto again. I had this thought:


What if Clerkmanifesto is like being awake, linear, orderly, sequential, and Life is a Fountain is the Dream.







Did writing for an audience keep me honest?

I am wondering this as I slip into yet another little visited corner of Life is a Fountain. Am I trying to say something, or to be heard?

Today’s joke, that I shared with at least two of my co-workers, was:

I have found my brand.

My brand is impotent rage.

They laughed. And I think, wow, that is so just barely a joke. How did they know it was a joke?


I’m really glad they knew it was a joke.

I’ll try to keep it that way.










Was it just yesterday that I sat down here and finally made a new entry, a quite extensive one leading to the complicated unveiling of an exciting new feature here on Life is a Fountain?


But it’s not here because I accidentally closed the tab where I was working on it, and it disappeared forever.

So that was three hours work down the drain.

But I can recreate it, right? I merely have to pick up the thread of it, and it will start to come back to me, and I can work back into my main points.

Which were?

I mean, to the best of my recollection the whole thing was a rambling series of digressions.

But before you say “Oh then. Well, whatever.” I’d like to point out that it was a professional standard of rambling series of digressions.

Now you can say “Oh then. Well whatever.” If you want.

As if you’d do such a thing!

That’s the kind of thing the seven billion people not reading this would do. If they read this.

Which they probably should be assigned to do at some point.

Actually I’m starting to thing that this might be a reasonably faithful reproduction of what I wrote yesterday, in spirit.

I’d better hit the save button.


At one point I posited that when I started writing clerkmanifesto, Life is a Fountain’s precursor, eight years and seven million word ago, I started with a single portion of an intelligible sentence, and then I digressed. And we are still in that first digression.

Also at some point in the ill-fated piece yesterday I revealed a delightful new feature I found Life is a Fountain is capable of. This new feature has really got the wheels turning in my head.

I found that I can lock any of the doors here in Life is a Fountain. That is, I can make rooms in Life is a Fountain that you need a key to get into.

The possibilities are endless.

Here, for instance, hit the blue lettered link below and check this page out (and my tip is, both for this and when you go anywhere on Life is a Fountain, to right click on it and open it in a new tab):









Did you go there.
Yes, exactly. You needed the password.
It’s not to keep you out. You can go anywhere. You are on a great journey of destiny!
I just don’t want the other seven billion people to get in your way.
You come freely, they were merely assigned.
If you’d like the password to the link



fill out the form below, and I’ll get that password to you.

Don’t worry. It’s easier and less invasive than it at first appears.
The rabbit hole will go deeper and deeper, eventually.


In the course of going on vacation to Duluth, for the first time since I started Life is a Fountain, I took a break. I thought of many pieces to write during that time. I made new pictures for Life is a Fountain on my phone at some point, but, when it came to writing, or adding anything to Life is a Fountain, I kept my peace. I didn’t write at all. I wondered what would make me write again.
Then I saw a comment on, of all places, Clerkmanifesto.
A couple months ago, with much ceremony and comment, I took Clerkmanifesto into hibernation in the caves that run under the rambling mansion we know as Life is a Fountain. There Clerkmanifesto dreams Life is a Fountain.
Some friendly reader, who apparently checks in only occasionally on Clerkmanifesto, came upon it sleeping.
So they wrote a comment:
“Will you blog here again? I miss it.”
While very nice, I also think:
But do you know about the giant enchanted mansion above you that I built with my own hands, partly made out of Clerkmanifesto itself?
Look at these stairs, or take this elevator, or climb this ladder, or put on these wings.
But that’s all very grand.
So here is the truth, whether I wanted it or not:
Six people were too many readers for me. It was going to my head.
By working very very hard I was able to bring it down to three.









For those of you who have been waiting eight long days for my latest installment on this page I can only say “Ha.” There isn’t anyone who has been waiting for an installment on this page!

I put ultra-violet dust on the floor here to track activity.

I closed the door.

I turned out the lights.

I flipped on the blacklight and…


It was full of cat prints in here. 


So that’s where the cat has been hanging out in Life is a Fountain. I thought he was watching the goldfish. Although, come to think of it, where did I put the goldfish?


Anyway, my point is that since no one comes around I think I’ll just stick my feet in the fountain and sip this delicious Elk’s Own. The Elk’s Own is a cocktail made with Rye Whiskey and Tawney Port (and lemon, simple syrup, egg). It’s a fizz. It’s pretty good, and it puts me in a good mood for awhile until I feel slightly ill. In between those two events I’m going to wander around Life is a Fountain with my blacklight.  If I see you around I will count it as a miracle and will not disdain its preciousness. I will grant you three wishes, which it is in my power to do. Anything you like. Leave them in the comments somewhere here or email them to p@lifeisafountain.


And now, a fountain to show you! This one from a Madeline book. It is combined with a figure from Danny and the Dinosaur, but not the sort of one you’d expect:




Oh, before I go, can I just add that I know and love this fountain, known as the turtle fountain, in Rome, and I even have a picture of it I’ll add here if I can find it. The Fontana delle Tartarughe is a Renaissance fountain but the turtles were added later, maybe even by Bernini!


Ah, here it is!



Sorry, cat got in the way!


That works for me.





Here you go. The alleged Bernini turtle additions are on the rim at the top of the fountain. Cheers.


















I’m back at the library after a few days off. During those days I was both sick from my second shingles vaccine shot, and I was working on putting together my daily newsletters, which I sort of do all at once on a bi-monthly basis. So I have added nothing to the website for a few days. This isn’t really something I like, but it is all a part of my glorious plans. The newsletters take about half an hour each to produce (assuming I’ve collected hundreds of pictures to draw from) and it kind of adds up to a lot of time. Maybe in a pinch I’ll be able to make those newsletters a bit quicker, but some of it is just all the clicks and form entry involved.

I think I might sound like I’m complaining, but I realize what I really feel is concern that I won’t be able to keep up with this standard of work in the future. So I’ll try to cross that road when I come to it. I also wouldn’t mind being able to do the newsletter once a month, but we’ll see. 

Of course what I mostly do back at the library, besides working, is make more pictures.

Here’s a brand new one for you. Kind of enigmatic:









I suppose one day the fever for photoshopping pictures will pass. I call it photoshopping as that’s sort of the preferred term, but I use an app called Light X to cut out images and layer them on others, and an art filter called Prisma to unify them. Both of these apps, despite their limitations and crudities, I have come to love. So that’s what I mean by photoshopping. And no, the fever holds, longer than I ever really expected it to. Since I ran through my first series of subscriber emails I have been collecting new pictures, maybe for nine or ten days now. I was a bit overwhelmed to find I have about 130 pictures. That reflects taking the source pictures (and far more to get to useable ones), combining two of them in mildly complicated ways, then fussing with filters and editing to produce several pictures that, ultimately, I whittle down to one picture.

I don’t philosophically have any problem working them into Life is a Fountain (I will surely put one at the end of this entry), but I have on the one hand a lack of opportunity to do so, and, on the other hand, a tendency to hoard them. I have to remind myself that at the volume I’m producing them they are extremely disposable. Maybe with a three day weekend I can find more excuses to plaster them all over the walls of Life is a Fountain. After all, these walls were made for pictures.









Today has been full of additions; to the Food Page, to the Art Page, to the Spirituality Page, to here, and to the front page, but it remains difficult for me to get a grip on what I’ve added and when. I am dating entries more and more, and that helps. And I am dating less on the front page and that helps too, oddly. I feel less pressure to keep things up to date there, and that’s better because I want to spend less time working on the front page when it’s just duplicating or pointing to what’s new.

I’m starting to be more willing to let the rare new (or old) visitor sink or swim a little here.

I woke in the middle of the night mortified at the grandness of this project and the simultaneous obscurity of it all. The analogy of throwing a huge party that almost no one comes to has occurred to me, and it hard to shake the feeling of, well, shame in that. But the other, more readily used analogy of Life is a Fountain, that this is a great ramshackle old mansion, full of hidden passages and strange old rooms, haunted paintings, excavations, decorations, and a regular cocktail hour is mostly helping me pull through.

I do feel a bit mad here, but there’s something else too….


I mean, just open a door.












I worked most of today on putting pictures up in The Gallery. I remain amazed at how laborious this is. My disorganization contributes some to this, as does the fact that while searching for a different format for the pictures I somehow managed to exit and lose an hour or two of postings. I figured out a better formatting system though, so that’s good. One day, many thousands of years from now, someone is going to scroll down through the first hundred pictures (it’s more than you think!) and reflect “Hey, I like how there’s a better balancing to sizes and formatting down here in the second hundred pictures.”

When that happens it will all be worth it.

I am also slowed down by the ever compelling need to pop open my phone and make new pictures. “Gosh, I sure have a lot of pictures posted on here!” I exclaim. “I better make some new ones!” 

There are a lot of exclamation points involved in my thought processes.

I made one oddly appealing picture for my Crossroads Page. I never really know what’ll turn out.  I’ll put it here when I stop writing.

I feel that I really need to put something in my Recommended Books Page, but I barely read now, I just make pictures and work on Life is a Fountain. I did go for a walk.

Sometimes I manage to watch soccer.






One of my colleagues decided to check out Life is a Fountain while I was standing nearby. I always find this of great interest, like being a director at a test audience screening of their movie. “Hmm.” I note. “So if they type in the search ‘Life is a Fountain’ my website doesn’t come up. Must remember to go have a chat with the owner of this ‘Google’. Does he or she live in Minnesota?”

I have also learned the test subjects don’t actually read anything on the page itself. This might be due to the distracting problem of me standing there, but it seems like they scan the page, maybe expecting it to do something?

Eventually they look so bewildered I start explaining how it works.  What I say is pretty much what the text says on the screen. I have it all memorized.

This colleague said, impressed “It looks professional.”

That was pretty nice.

Then something happened on the check in machine so I had to dash off and take care of it for a second. As soon as I was done I came back to see how things had progressed.


She was looking up travel destinations.









I was a little shocked to come here and find I had not written on this page since June 30! Messi has had 2 assists and a goal since then!


Oh, but that might not be of general interest.


Although, if I recall, we were shunting the elusive “general interest” to the side in this little journal I am making of the website.


It’s July 4th. Things are starting to explode though it is not at all dark yet. Just hot. Light and hot. 92 degrees and I’ve agreed to go for a walk in 20 minutes!

I had a four day weekend and spent about 12 hours a day working on Life is a Fountain. I did two weeks of newsletters (really the first ones, along with creating the system for it). It’s more bespoke that I was thinking in the last entry here. 

I’ve done quite a few functional redesigns of the front page, though it could use a couple more. Many of my pages have retreated to more inaccessible areas, sort of by invitation only. There are at least two new pages, including the Crossroads one, which I’m very happy with as a kind of navigational tool for the confused Life is a Fountain Visitor, if only they can find it. It actually needs a few more links, but I’ve had enough for now.

I’m thinking of axing the “Experimental” section on the front page, though I’m trying to keep up with the “What’s New” section. Usually, at this point, so much is new I simply don’t remember what’s new. Everything?

I’ve put up about 75 pictures on the gallery page and probably have that many to go, but that too is a bit laborious for me at the moment, and not very urgent.

So the list of things to be done remains endless, and yet, nevertheless I am feeling pleased with what I’ve gotten done here this weekend.

I don’t really think I’ll like just talking here about making Life is a Fountain, but when I am doing things other than that perhaps I will be able to discuss those instead…




Something possessed me to come here and write again. The day was full of editing pictures as usual, and the green cat came into being. Life is a Fountain has a cat! One might say the day was devoted to him.

This evening I was so burned out I just sort of poked at Life is a Fountain for a couple hours without really doing much. I suppose pictures were added around and about. I don’t want to get into some weird habit of complaining about working on Life is a Fountain here. It was just a long day, and I look forward to having the energy to get some things done here tomorrow.

The truth is that I am increasingly trying to figure what the steady way to add content is going to be. It looks like the LIAF blog will be able to be sent automatically, like Clerkmanifesto was (well, still is I think). I may end up with a similar system to what I’ve been doing for years; scheduling a post every day. There will just be the added element of sort of duplicating that into the various pages and places across Life is a Fountain as a whole. Or another way of putting it is that there will be the challenge of taking all the added content around Life is a Fountain and getting it into the blog. Cut and paste?

As of today I am getting lots of what look like fake views of this website now. I can’t tell how much I enjoy that. Maybe I do.


Okay, let me find you a picture.


Ah, appropriately it is the Life is a Fountain cat!

Like I said, he is everywhere today.


Check out the fountain behind him.


Did you know that Life is a Fountain?







I am continuing to work at a breakneck pace on Life is a Fountain which only leaves me about ten minutes for a brief note here so this page doesn’t feel neglected. In the back of my mind I wonder what will happen when my Life is a Fountain fever subsides, without all that energy to still not get enough done, but I am trying to trust that I will find my minimum levels of contribution, sort of like the one-post-a-day I stuck tenaciously to on the old Clerkmanifesto.

As it stands, my list of things to do somehow never seems to grow shorter. For instance, I really have to get to some cat stuff soon, maybe even today. And after this “Begging Week” thing I am feeling like the daily Clerkmanifesto post’s days are numbered.

I am very happy though to have put in the “What’s New” section on the Home page and think that can be a pretty good system.  A (very) few readers responded to my surveys (I begged them!), particularly about what they’d like in the Newsletter, and even though it was supposed to, in its ridiculous way, I was surprised to find the responses were illuminating and helpful. So I am today thinking about how to do the Newsletter more as well.





I have been working feverishly on something called Begging Week for email subscribers to Clerkmanifesto. I think the idea is to get people clicking over to the pages of Life is a Fountain. Though this is certainly not a page I would have them click over to. This page is, I don’t know, the one I don’t want anyone coming to unless they are really interested, unless they just came on their own, with no favors, no rewards, and nothing great really to come of it. I keep thinking an odd word I never use: Country. This page is too country.

I still feel like I have  trouble keeping up with getting all the content I’m making into Life is a Fountain. I have so many pictures right now, probably because I still can’t stop obsessively editing them. And there always seems to be half a dozen things I want to work in somewhere, or learn. I need to get the shark picture into the marketing page for instance. I want a picture to follow this, but I suddenly want to make a new one! I want to make nature movies, more forms, and get to work on the next Life is a Fountain Newsletter. There is a real chance that Google’s lack of support means that starting July 1, Clerkmanifesto will no longer email posts out, which means it will all be on the new Newsletter.

I’ll cross that bridge…








The more I work on Life is a Fountain, the more things I want to do for it.  This gives me a feeling that the faster I go the further the finish line recedes, though of course there isn’t a finish line here. My phone is swamped with mash up pictures (like the one above, though not all as good) to the point where there are ones I really like, and spent considerable time on, that feel lost in their confusing accumulations, and that I’ll never find a way to get them over here.

The main projects for Life is a Fountain I am thinking about now are a begging week, where I beg people to fill out a survey I made for the Life is a Fountain Newsletter, maybe with some begging for them to come over here to Life is a Fountain, and I’d also really like to build a section of more changeable, current content on the Home page, but I have a feeling that project will have to wait. I can now see how many people visit this site and, maybe as I expected, it is very close to none (okay, a couple people have come by since I got my counter up and running). My Clerkmanifesto email subscriber list of 42 looks to only really have 13 active readers (that is, the number of people opening their email at all!).

I guess this is okay. Though my urgent sense of wanting everything wonderful for any readers coupled with a sense of doing many things no one will read or see is… discordant. Is someone here now? Oh, well, that’s nice.  Hello visitor. I guess it’s just us  two. Let’s see if I can find us a picture I haven’t posted anywhere else.



That’s agent 86, in case you weren’t sure.







I opened Life is a Fountain to the world, and yet somehow the world seems… the same.


I think the World might be broken?


Three people I know well came to Life is a Fountain. They said nice things. And I guess that’s it. I said “What a party!” and went off to the basement to brew potions. I turned the cat green. Ah well.

Oh, you didn’t know Life as a Fountain had a cat. We totally do! I’m not sure how, or where, or why. But we do. Watch out for him.





Each day I check how everything is on Life is a Fountain, making sure things are ready and work the way they’re supposed to. Each night Life is a Fountain is ready for the world! Each morning brings a new list of things to do to make it ready. It is a curious process of endless reconsideration and finishin. I am almost through with today’s list, and I also feel increasingly like I’m putting off making Life is a Fountain public. My idea is I will fix today’s problems and then… Unleash Life is a Fountain upon the World! There will be an announcement. Since you’re reading this… there was an announcement.

Today I made a secret tunnel in Life is a Fountain, fixed a typo, and added pictures to more than one page. I am still hoping to make a mock survey I have on a particular page here into a real one (although as satirical and silly as ever), and to add some more pictures to this page and to a page called “Stolen“. At that point I will look to open the metaphorical doors of Life is a Fountain.  I picture them like giant metal doors, like the ones at the Pantheon in Rome. I am hoping to use a Golden Ticket somehow in the announcement, like from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’d also really like to watch the Spain vs. Poland Euro Soccer Match, but that’s not particularly relevant to this grand and momentous opening up of Life is a Fountain.




 This is one of those really late in the game things, but I just figured out how to change my font size. It took me ages. I’m very excited.

Wait, check this out:

This is one of those really late in the game things, but I just figured out how to change my font size. It took me ages. I’m very excited.





I just realized it would make sense to start dating these entries. Now I’m going to guess at the dates for the previous ones and you will never know I wasn’t dating them all along!

I don’t think I’ll always be discussing just the technical ins and outs of building Life is a Fountain in the future here, but building LiaF is all I’m doing these days, round the clock, so it comes up.

Each day now I work through a list of things to take care of on Life is a Fountain; content to add, features to find, problems to fix. And as I finish them I think “I am ready now to open it up to the people!”

Then something goes wrong.

I reconsider a page, a look, a tool.

I think of something I really want to add.

And we start over the next day.

Some things are a process of coming to terms with limitations. I just put in a working “Comments” capability at the bottom of each page. I had one and wanted a more customizable one. This “more customizable” one still isn’t as customizable as I hoped, but I may live with it awhile. It does seem to work at least.

The elephant in Life is a Fountain right now is all about email notifications and newsletters. My first working solution wanted to bandy about my home address to all comers in an obsessive manner (for legal reasons). Now I am testing whether I can gather email addresses. Eventually I would like to be able to make some sort of newsletter/Life is a Fountain bi-weekly collection in your inbox, but it may be too much work. I could also get a P.O. Box. I’m wary of spending money to solve any problems I run into.

Maybe some part of me thought I would run across the Pre Life is a Fountain finish line, but it’s a little more like inching across it in the dark, wondering where it is.







Anyhoo, today was big on Life is a Fountain as I seemed to have worked out active forms, basically meaning there are now feedback forms on Life is a Fountain. Technically I could leave one here, but it’s a bit too much of a production for where I am. There’s a big one at the far bottom of the Life is a Fountain HOME page. I do hope you’ll fill it out even if it’s very dangerous, thankless, a ton of work, and costs a fortune. 

I was kidding.


Let’s find a picture if we can:






While we are still in our exploratory roll out stage this seems as good a place as any to test dictating directly in to life as a fountain. If you are reading it it at least kind of works






There is news to report in the development of my new website, known temporarily as Clerkmanifesto 2.0, but here known of course now as Life is a Fountain.

Big news!

But first let’s catch you up. Clerkmanifesto, our former iteration, had gotten to be a little too small of a box for me. I have also had cause to worry about the support for its meager features. So, like a wee caterpillar, I sewed it into a chrysalis and promised to make us an exciting, new, full featured, giant website. I promised it will be so rich and full of content and wonders that it will REPLACE THE VERY INTERNET!

And now, miraculously, it has emerged from its metamorphosis as a DIFFERENT CATERPILLAR!

So the big news is…

The new website, Life is a Fountain, is, well, um, it’s not that great. WordPress, the ubiquitous web tool I am working with, is far less intuitive, easy to use, and flexible than I hoped. And I have always been, I’m afraid, an unhappy student. 



It is, as you are reading this, in roughly full working order.

The front door has finally been unlocked. Except it was not really unlocking, it was more like prying off the boards.

You see, this Clerkmanifesto 2.0, Life is a Fountain, is like an old, ramshackle house, on a distant planet. Only it turns out that planet is Earth, but it’s in a slightly altered timeline from our own.

No, wait, that’s not quite it. 

Though “ramshackle” feels pretty accurate. “House” isn’t bad either. “Altered” works as well. And you can explore it. There are a lot of rooms here. I mean, you found this one. Some are even curiously decorated. Occasionally you will find an old wardrobe, open it up, step through it, and find yourself in a field of wild flowers. 

But mostly you will just find yourself in another room.

“Wait. What room is this?” You will ask. “And why is everything crooked?”




So in the end Life is a Fountain is kind of like the old Clerkmanifesto, but more twisty, with more doors, and everything is kind of rusty, and it all works slower.

And we learn once again: We cannot escape ourselves, so we might as well lean into it.


I know, I’m pretty excited too.






A test down here:


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